As the Stormont Executive pushed through its Budget proposals today, People Before Profit MLA Gerry stated his parties opposition to these proposals and called for a new and radical economic approach to tackle poverty and inequality.
Mr Carroll stated: “The past year has been a year of pain and great sacrifice for our communities. People lost incomes, jobs and their loved ones as the pandemic ripped through our communities. Despite being told we were all in it together, COVID 19 was not the great equaliser claimed, and, in fact, exacerbated already existing poverty and inequality.
“In the midst of a pandemic that has caused so much hardship and pain the Stormont Executive have responded with a Budget that is insulting to everyone here. Stormont Ministers claim this is a “standstill “ budget, but in reality it is one that poses potential reductions in services and utterly fails to meet the growing needs of a population emerging from a once in a generation crisis.
“Once again, these proposals were today rushed through Stormont with little oversight or scrutiny, but already anti-poverty campaigners are alarmed at its potential impact and People Before Profit share in this alarm and oppose this Budget. Welfare Advice services have been treated disgracefully and threatened with cuts in the wake of welfare reform and huge levels of unemployment. Underfunding of our health service and education sector continues, while public sector workers are still being denied pay rises.
“The Stormont Executive has also failed spectacularly to deliver on many of its key commitments from the New Decade New Approach agreement, such as the powers to devolve (and increase) the minimum wage, IVF treatments and other necessary supports. Now they are proposing a Budget that all has the hallmarks of previous era of politics, categorised by a chronic lack of spending and a reluctance to tackle poverty and wealth inequality.
“Nor can the Executive be allowed wash their hands of this crisis, considering they were unable to spend up to £300 million in Covid support and have in the past presided over scandal after scandal of wasted public money. SF and the DUP spent the last decade fighting to cut corporations taxes and reduce taxation on the rich, while implementing austerity along the way. PBP always opposed this vision and we believe in this decade, and faced with a pandemic, the Executive must urgently move to fight for an expansion of services based on a radical tackling of wealth inequality, challenging neo liberal economics and making the rich pay their way, by prioritising people before the profits of the rich.”